Natural Hazards Observer


November 2004
Volume XXIX | Number 2

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Interim Rule Allows DMA2K Extensions

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued an interim rule to provide state and tribal governments with an opportunity to request an extension for submission of their mitigation plans, which are required by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA2K) (See the Observer, July 2004, pp. 7-8) as a condition for nonemergency Stafford Act assistance. This interim rule allows FEMA to grant justifiable extensions of up to six months beyond the current deadline of November 1, 2004 (no later than May 1, 2005), in extraordinary circumstances. It also changes the eligibility requirements of the Predisaster Mitigation Program to allow grants to continue to be available to state and tribal governments that do not have FEMA approved mitigation plans. Finally, the interim rule makes technical and conforming amendments to other sections of FEMA regulations and adjusts the general major disaster allocation for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program from 15 percent to 7½ percent to be consistent with a recent statutory amendment.

The interim rule is available at http://www.regulations.gov/TOPIC_44.cfm and in the September 13, 2004, Federal Register (Vol. 69, No. 176, pp. 55094-50597), which can be found in any federal repository library or online at http://www.access.gpo.gov/. Comments are encouraged and due by November 12, 2004. To learn more, contact Karen Helbrecht, Risk Reduction Branch, Mitigation Division, FEMA, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472; (202) 646-3104; e-mail: karen.helbrecht@dhs.gov.

2004 Hurricane Season Recovery Information

The 2004 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been one of the busiest and most destructive in history. As of October 18, 13 named storms had come and gone, resulting in 21 federal disaster declarations covering 13 states and Puerto Rico. To further assist in the recovery efforts, FEMA has enhanced its Web site with a page dedicated solely to recovery information related to the hurricanes of 2004, broken down by storm and then by the affected states. The Web page also features links to general information, including disaster recovery center locations, steps to take after the disaster, slide shows, and rebuilding techniques. It also provides a link to English and Spanish versions of FEMA’s Help After a Disaster: Applicant’s Guide to the Individuals & Households Program (2004, 20 pp., free). This Web page is available at http://www.fema.gov/press/2004/hurricane_season.shtm.

In related news, FEMA has recently adopted new technology to make it easier to apply for disaster assistance, allowing residents of federal disaster areas to apply online, as well as over the telephone. The online registration page can be accessed through http://www.fema.gov/register.shtm.

Mr. Hazards Pushing Wheelbarrow Full of Money

Supplemental Funding for Disaster Relief Efforts

In the wakes of Hurricanes Charley and Frances, the president signed the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act (Public Law 108-303) on September 8 to ensure that response efforts to these disasters would continue uninterrupted. The new law provides two billion dollars for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2004, to supplement existing resources and programs for response and recovery efforts. It also states that the money shall remain available until expended and up to $30 million may be transferred to the Small Business Administration for administrative expenses related to the disaster loans program. The full text of the law is available in any federal repository library and on the Library of Congress Web site at http://thomas.loc.gov/.

NIMS Minimum Requirements Outlined

In a letter to the nation’s governors dated September 8, 2004, the secretary of homeland security outlined the minimum requirements for states and territories to comply with the new National Incident Management System (NIMS) (See the Observer, May 2004, pp. 6-7). Mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-5, “Management of Domestic Incidents,” NIMS provides a comprehensive national approach to incident management that establishes a uniform set of processes and procedures that emergency responders at all levels of government will use to conduct response operations.

The letter specifically addresses the important steps that should be taken during fiscal year 2005 (October 1, 2004–September 30, 2005) to become NIMS compliant. While fiscal year 2005 is the start up year for NIMS implementation, full compliance with NIMS is not required for states to receive fiscal year 2005 grant funds. Nevertheless, the secretary encourages full implementation and institutionalization across the entire response system during fiscal year 2005 to the maximum extent possible. In order to receive preparedness funding in fiscal year 2006, the minimum requirements described in this letter must be met. The letter is available on the NIMS Web site at http://www.fema.gov/nims/.

Additional information about NIMS compliance and resources for achieving compliance is forthcoming from the NIMS Integration Center and will also be available on the NIMS Web site. Questions and comments should be addressed to Gil Jamieson, NIMS Integration Center, 500 C Street, SW, Washington, DC 20472; (202) 646-3850; e-mail: NIMS-Integration-Center@dhs.gov.

FEMA Seeks Partners for Collaborative Mapping Program

Collaborative Mapping Program

One of the key objectives of FEMA’s Map Modernization Plan is to increase local involvement in, and ownership of, the flood mapping process. To meet this objective, FEMA created the Cooperating Technical Partner (CTP) program to create partnerships between FEMA and state, local, and regional agencies that are interested in and capable of playing active roles in FEMA’s Flood Hazard Mapping program.

As part of this ongoing project, FEMA continues to seek qualified partners to collaborate on the maintenance of up-to-date flood maps and other flood hazard information. Partners benefit from flood maps that are more accurate and current, improved hazard identification and risk management, shared best practices, and, ultimately, more efficient floodplain management.

For more information about the CTP program and how to become a partner, including the Cooperating Technical Partners (CTP) Program Guidance Document for Fiscal Year 2004, Guidelines and Specifications for Flood Hazard Mapping Partners, and a CTP self-assessment tool, visit http://www.fema.gov/fhm/ctp_main.shtm. General questions about the CTP program can be addressed to the FEMA Map Assistance Center at (877) 336-2627. To subscribe to a monthly e-newsletter featuring CTP news and announcements, training opportunities, success stories, policy and procedure changes, and map modernization initiatives and funding, contact Daphne Thornton at (202) 646-4019 or daphne.thornton@dhs.gov.

ADA Guide for Local Governments

The U.S. Department of Justice has released An ADA Guide for Local Governments: Making Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs Accessible to People with Disabilities. The guide breaks down preparedness and response into sections addressing the following five phases: planning, notification, evacuation, sheltering, and returning home. Each section describes the phase, the role it plays in preparedness and response, and some of the challenges that may arise. Action steps are included to help local governments meet these challenges and better serve people with disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The guide is available free online at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/emergencyprep.htm.

Business Gets Ready

In partnership with business and the Advertising Council, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has launched the Ready Business campaign, an extension of the individual- and family-focused Ready campaign, to help owners and managers of small to medium-sized businesses prepare for and respond to an emergency. Recognizing that few businesses are engaged in preparedness, the program aims to raise the business community’s awareness of the need for emergency planning and motivate businesses to take action. The campaign consists of a Web site, brochures, posters, and radio, print, and Web advertising. These materials are designed to make emergency planning easier and provide practical steps and easy-to-use templates that improve the likelihood of survival and recovery from an emergency (natural or otherwise). Recommendations reflect the NFPA 1600: Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Program (See the Observer, September 2004, pp. 20-21) developed by the National Fire Protection Association and endorsed by the American National Standards Institute, the 9/11 Commission, and DHS. Visit Ready Business on the Web at http://www.ready.gov/business/index.html.

Grant Funds Telecommunications for the Deaf

DHS has awarded Telecommunications for the Deaf Incorporated (TDI), a membership organization that lobbies for improved telecommunications for individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired, a $1.4 million competitive training grant to develop a network that will provide information on disaster preparedness to individuals with hearing disabilities. TDI intends to work with a consortium of local and regional disability consumer organizations to provide workshops and develop a Web site to better prepare this special needs population. Partner agencies include Developmental Evaluation and Adjustment Facilities Inc.; Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons Inc.; Communication Service for the Deaf; and Deaf Counseling, Advocacy, and Referral Agency. For more information, contact TDI, 8719 Colesville Road, Suite 300, Silver Spring, MD 20910; (301) 589-3786; TTY: (301) 589-3006; Fax: (301) 589-3797.

DHS Launches Office of Interoperability and Compatibility

As part of its ongoing efforts to improve public safety communications interoperability (See the Observer, July 2004, p. 8, September 2004, p. 10), DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate has launched the Office of Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC). Tasked with overseeing DHS programs related to critical interoperability issues such as communications, equipment, and training, the OIC aims to strengthen the national partnership of local, state, and federal leadership to achieve emergency response interoperability in every community in the country.

Specific responsibilities of the OIC include:

  • Supporting the creation of interoperability standards;
  • Establishing a comprehensive research, development, testing, and evaluation program;
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of technical assistance;
  • Creating an interagency interoperability coordination council; and
  • Working with the National Incident Management System Integration Center.

For more information about the OIC, read the press release at http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/press_release/press_release_0530.xml. Additional information about DHS’ efforts to achieve first responder communications interoperability, including a new interoperability continuum guide and a statewide communications interoperability planning methodology, is available at http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/press_release/press_release_0529.xml.

Expanding Disaster Training for Medical Professionals

In support of the American Medical Association’s (AMA) efforts to better prepare physicians for disaster response, DHS has given the association a $1 million grant, allowing the AMA to offer more comprehensive disaster-response training and at more locations. The AMA will use the money to expand its Core Disaster Life Support course, one of three courses in the AMA National Disaster Life Support program. The goal of the course is to increase awareness of the basic skills, competencies, knowledge, and resources that are critical for a coordinated and effective local response effort. The curriculum covers natural and human-induced disasters, traumatic and explosive events, nuclear and radiological weapon attacks, and biological events. Information about the AMA Center for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response is available at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/6206.html.

USFA Releases ICS Self-Study

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has released its Web-based Incident Command System (ICS) Self-Study, 2nd Edition. This new program offers all first responders a basic understanding of NIMS compliant ICS as well as an overview and explanation of ICS, including organizational structure, positions and functions, responsibilities, and considerations. This self-paced program is available to all fire service officers and other first responders and emergency managers who use, implement, and function within an ICS. To participate in the program, go to http://www.training.fema.gov/.

FEMA Unveils New ICS Course

FEMA’s new online independent study course, Basic Incident Command System for Federal Disaster Workers, IS-200, is designed to identify incident command system (ICS) features and principles, describing in more detail elements such as establishment and transfer of command, management by objectives, unified command, ICS management functions, organizational flexibility, unity and chain of command, span of control, incident action plans, resource management, common terminology and clear text, integrated communications, and personnel accountability. A disaster scenario threads throughout the course to describe the common responsibilities associated with incident assignments from a federal disaster response workforce perspective. IS-200 is tailored specifically for federal disaster workers and is not meant to replace Basic Incident Command System, IS-195. Introduction to the Incident Command System for Federal Disaster Workers, IS-100, is a prerequisite to IS-200. To register and complete any of FEMA’s online independent study courses, go to http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/.

Getting Prepped for Oil Spill Response

The National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) was developed in 1994 to meet the intent of the pollution response exercise requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90). PREP plays a key role in assuring the preparedness of the National Response System to successfully respond to major oil and hazardous chemicBird Mixing Detergental incidents. PREP guidelines were developed by the Coast Guard, the Research and Special Programs Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Minerals Management Service in concert with representatives from various state governments, industry, environmental interest groups, and the general public, to reflect the consensus agreement of the entire oil spill response community. Using PREP guidelines and participating in PREP exercises will satisfy all OPA 90 mandated federal pollution response exercise requirements.

This notice announces the PREP triennial cycle, 2005 through 2007, requests comments from the public about the program, and calls for industry participants to volunteer for scheduled PREP area exercises. For more information about the notice and how to submit comments, see the September 21, 2004 Federal Register (Vol. 69, No. 182, pp. 56445-56446), which can be found in any federal repository library or online at http://www.access.gpo.gov/. Comments are due by November 22, 2004.

More information about PREP as well as the exercise schedule, exercise design manuals, and guidelines are available at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/nsfweb/nsfcc/prep/prepindexfinal.html.

FEMA Grants $3.2 Million to Colleges, Universities for Disaster Preparedness

In the past decade, disasters have affected university and college campuses with increasing frequency. Nearly all instances have brought monetary losses and disruptions of the institutions’ teaching, research, and public service functions. To help avoid such losses and disruptions, FEMA awarded more than $3.2 million in grants as part of its Disaster Resistant University (DRU) program in fiscal year 2004. The DRU program helps universities and colleges, through state and local governments, implement sustained predisaster natural hazard mitigation programs to reduce the overall risk to students, faculty, facilities, and research assets. These grants were competitively awarded to ensure that funds would benefit a representative range of universities based on hazard type as well as size, location, and academic community served.

A list of recipients is available at http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=14811. For more information about the DRU program, visit http://www.fema.gov/fima/dru.shtm.


Call for Presentations

The Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness is calling for presentations for the 15th World Conference on Disaster Management to be held in Toronto, Canada, July 10-13, 2005. This year’s theme is “The Changing Face of Disaster Management—Defining the New Normal.”

Presentations should fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Real events/lessons learned;
  • Emerging trends in disaster management;
  • The human element in disaster management;
  • Technical issues/threats;
  • Disaster management principals and practices; and
  • Research and development.

Abstracts must be submitted online and are due by December 4, 2004. For more information, visit http://www.wcdm.org/ or contact Adrian Gordon, Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness; (905) 331-2552; e-mail: agordon@ccep.ca.


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